The Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club has been offered the gift of a trophy cup for its flotilla of Cheapskate ice boats from W. H “Bill” Bunting, a long-time club member, and skipper of the Nite-class ice boat # 86,“Red Herring.” Bunting said that he was inspired to make the gift because “nothing warms the spirits on a cold, grey day as does the sight of a flock of plucky little Cheapskates with their cheerfully colorful sails.”
Bunting also wished to recognize the camaraderie evident among Cheapskate skippers. The economical little craft attracts not only beginning ice boaters, as intended, but also veteran sailors wishing to downsize. The design has proved to be cheap, able, and relatively foolproof, with superior light air speed and the remarkable ability to sail in heavy winds without reefing.
Bunting is leaving it up to the Cheapskate fleet skippers to decide how the cup should be awarded, but suggested that this might be done at the start the season. For example, while for one season it might go to the winner of a regatta, the following season it might be awarded to the skipper who accumulates the most days on the ice.
The trophy, appropriately, is constructed of components of little value. The cup itself, an old Reed & Barton “Morning Glory” silver-plated pot, is a remnant from the estate of Miss Daisy Vorhees, an elderly spinster and a family friend, and had long been gathering dust in Bunting’s attic. It is now mounted atop a vintage Saab hubcap found by Bunting many years ago in a roadside ditch. The trophy’s base consists of an inverted pie plate from Reny’s. A surrounding strip of plexi-glass is intended to represent a layer of ice.
Internal ballasting is provided by a hydraulic pump gear from a dismembered 1948 John Deere “A” tractor, and a sack of pennies. A five-gallon hydraulic oil pail will serve as a secure case for the trophy when it is transported to and from the winners’ houses.
Lloyd Roberts, dean of Maine ice boating, noted author of the book “Think Ice,” who is the de facto commodore of the C. I. B. C. Cheapskate fleet, and the current holder of the class speed record of nearly 48 mph, when informed of the gift, expressed appropriate appreciation. He noted that it “was larger than most ice boating trophies, but not all.” C.I.B.C. president Bill Buchholz, recalling that Bunting had suggested the Cheapskate name, commented that “it took one to name one.” He’ amused by the fact that the most humble of iceboats has a trophy nearly as spectacular as the America’s Cup itself.
The official presentation ceremony will take place at the club’s pre-season meeting in early November, at Dave Fortier’s house in Biddeford. In the meantime, the trophy is doing useful service as the radiator ornament for Bunting’s circa-1970 Allis Chalmers HD16-DP bulldozer “Junior.”